A political optimist: Interview with Peter Buckley
Today I had the good fortune of spending some time on the phone with Oregon State Representative Peter Buckley. You’ll be able to hear the conversation as a podcast over the next couple of months.
Peter is an amazingly optimistic guy, and he’s been very effective in our state capital in bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to get work done on behalf of Oregon voters. I asked him about any generalizations he’s made regarding how people and organizations change.
He told me that if people don’t understand the parameters of time, money, and the basic structure needed to get from here to there, nothing will change. And that if there isn’t a certain amount of goodwill regarding the desired change, nothing will change.
He found that the key to progress is building alliances, and then not waiting around for everyone to get onboard. His approach is one of respect for both strong positions and weak positions, and that if he can’t find out what’s behind opposition, he works to eliminate its influence.
I asked him about his motivation for going into politics, and he didn’t hesitate a second before answering. “Social justice.” He grew up in a family where the question was “How will you serve?” This was in part because of his family’s religion, and in part because of the ethic he witnessed in both his parents. His father fought in two wars. His mother worked with developmentally disabled children. He had four siblings. The entire family created a loving, safe and encouraging environment in which Peter was encouraged to try things out and give his best.
I enjoyed this interview, and I’ll share it with you in the months ahead.